Event_Coverage

Vidugiris Triumphant in Tampa

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Backed by the power of Malakir Bloodwitch, unrelenting Crypt Rippers, and a little lift from a Soaring Seacliffs, Gaudenis Vidugiris took down Conley Woods in a two game match for the title of Grand Prix Tampa Champion. It was the third time that Gaudenis has made the Top 8 of a GP this season but it was the first time -- both geographically and by virtue of winning -- that he could declare, “I am definitely going to Disneyland!” Gaudenis locked up Level 7 for next season with his win and showed that he is a competitor to be reckoned with at Worlds and all next season with a win in a stacked Top 8 that included Gabriel Nassif, Martin Juza, and PT Honolulu Top 8 competitors Tom Ross and Conley Woods.

Almost bigger news than who was in the Top 8 was who was not. After rattling off a string of Top 8 finishes over six events that included Japanese Nationals, four GPs, and last weekend’s PT Austin, Yuuya Watanabe went 0-3 in his first draft of Day Two, ending an impressive streak that no one can recall the likes of in recent memory. With the Top 8 finishes of Juza and Nassif the race for the Player of the Year tightened and should be just as heated next weekend for Grand Prix Kitakyushu and in the remaining weeks counting down to the World Championships in Rome!




Quarterfinals   Semifinals   Finals   Champion
1 Martin Juza   Gaudenis Vidugiris, 2-1        
8 Gaudenis Vidugiris   Gaudenis Vidugiris, 2-0
       
4 John Skinner   John Skinner, 2-0   Gaudenis Vidugiris, 2-0
5 Alex Majlaton    
       
2 Gabriel Nassif   Conley Woods, 2-0
7 Conley Woods   Conley Woods, 2-0
       
3 Tom Ross   John May, 2-1
6 John May    


Follow live streaming video coverage of Grand Prix-Tampa at ggslive.com with Rashad Miller and Ben Swartz.
EVENT COVERAGE TWITTER

  • by Brian David-Marshall
    Finals
    Conley Woods vs. Gaudenis Vidugiris

  • by Marc Calderaro
    Semifinals
    Conley Woods vs. John May

  • by Brian David-Marshall
    Semifinals
    Gaudenis Vidugiris vs. John Skinner

  • by Marc Calderaro
    Quarterfinals
    Tom Ross vs. John May

  • by Duncan McGregor
    Quarterfinals
    Alex Majlaton vs. John Skinner

  • by Marc Calderaro
    Quarterfinals
    Martin Juza vs. Gaudenis Vidugiris

  • by Steve Sadin
    Quarterfinals
    Gabriel Nassif vs. Conley Woods

  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Top 8
    Draft Viewer

  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Top 8
    Decklists

  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Top 8
    Player Profiles


  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Day 2: Event Coverage from Day 1

  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Day 1: Event Coverage from Day 1

  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Info: Fact Sheet

INFORMATION
 1.  Gaudenis Vidugiris $3,500
 2.  Conley Woods $2,300
 3.  John Skinner $1,500
 4.  John May $1,500
 5.  Gabriel Nassif $1,000
 6.  Alex Majlaton $1,000
 7.  Tom Ross $1,000
 8.  Martin Juza $1,000
Pairings Results Standings
Final

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  • Top 8 - Player Profiles
    by Duncan McGregor
  • Questions provided by @MagicProTour Twitter followers

    Name: John May
    Age: 23
    Hometown: VA
    Occupation: College

    Which Zendikar draft archetypes have you had the most/least success with?
    Most with black/blue, least with anything white.

    What card was played against you that made you say “Wow, you’re really playing that?”
    Nothing.

    What did you eat today?
    Jalapeno poppers.

    What was your favorite Halloween costume growing up?
    Captain America.

    What do you think the best card in Standard is now?
    Putrid Leech.

    What deck do you think is now the best in Standard?
    Can’t say, it’s a secret.

    If you could have any Zendikar card, what would it be?
    Ob Nixilis, the Fallen.

    Do you play EDH? If so, what is your general?
    No.

    Do you have a Twitter that people can follow?
    No.




    Name: Tom Ross
    Age: 26
    Hometown: Ruston, LA
    Occupation: Game Developer

    Which Zendikar draft archetypes have you had the most/least success with?
    8 man drafts. Worst with one on one.

    What card was played against you that made you say “Wow, you’re really playing that?”
    None really.

    What did you eat today?
    Fruit, and drank a lot of Sweet Tea.

    What was your favorite Halloween costume growing up?
    Ninja Turtle.

    What do you think the best card in Standard is now?
    Baneslayer Angel.

    What deck do you think is now the best in Standard?
    R/W.

    If you could have any Zendikar card, what would it be?
    Trusty Machete.

    Do you play EDH? If so, what is your general?
    No.

    Do you have a Twitter that people can follow?
    CitrusX (I think)




    Name: Martin Juza
    Age: 22
    Hometown: Plzen
    Occupation: Tourist

    Which Zendikar draft archetypes have you had the most/least success with?
    Not green.

    What card was played against you that made you say “Wow, you’re really playing that?”
    Forest.

    What did you eat today?
    A strawberry cake. It was awesome.

    What was your favorite Halloween costume growing up?
    We don’t celebrate Halloween in Europe.

    What do you think the best card in Standard is now?
    Baneslayer Angel.

    What deck do you think is now the best in Standard?
    No idea.

    If you could have any Zendikar card, what would it be?
    Vampire Nighthawk.

    Do you play EDH? If so, what is your general?
    I play CS.

    Do you have a Twitter that people can follow?
    No.




    Name: John Skinner
    Age: 27
    Hometown: Mercersburg
    Occupation: Ph.D. Student

    Which Zendikar draft archetypes have you had the most/least success with?
    Drafting two Vampire Nighthawks seems good. Allies in three different colors - not so much.

    What card was played against you that made you say “Wow, you’re really playing that?”
    Piranha Marsh.

    What did you eat today?
    Leftover pizza and a hamburger.

    What was your favorite Halloween costume growing up?
    Ghost.

    What do you think the best card in Standard is now?
    Baneslayer Angel.

    What deck do you think is now the best in Standard?
    Esper control.

    If you could have any Zendikar card, what would it be?
    Sorin Markov.

    Do you play EDH? If so, what is your general?
    Jenara. I’m working on a Jhoira deck as well.

    Do you have a Twitter that people can follow?
    Nope. Sorry.




    Name: Conley Woods
    Age: 22
    Hometown: Fort Collins, CO
    Occupation: Full time student

    Which Zendikar draft archetypes have you had the most/least success with?
    Most with 4-color green, least with Limited Martyr-Proc. :)

    What card was played against you that made you say “Wow, you’re really playing that?”
    I was the one playing those cards!

    What did you eat today?
    McDonalds (found on my shirt)
    7-11 sandwich... Yeah, I know.

    What was your favorite Halloween costume growing up?
    I dressed up as a fridge. Homemade, full box etc. Chips on top. It was the sickest.

    What do you think the best card in Standard is now?
    Probably Bloodbraid Elf.

    What deck do you think is now the best in Standard?
    Best archetype has yet to be designed.

    If you could have any Zendikar card, what would it be?
    Probably something green like Rampaging Baloths, since no one drafts green. A Sorin would be nice too. :)

    Do you play EDH? If so, what is your general?
    Yeah, Kami of the Crescent Moon.

    Do you have a Twitter that people can follow?
    Conley81




    Name: Gabriel Nassif
    Age: 25
    Hometown: Paris
    Occupation: Poker/Magic player

    Which Zendikar draft archetypes have you had the most/least success with?
    Most: Red/X. Least: Green/X.

    What card was played against you that made you say “Wow, you’re really playing that?”
    Nothing really this weekend.

    What did you eat today?
    A cheeseburger.

    What was your favorite Halloween costume growing up?
    Don’t really celebrate it in France.

    What do you think the best card in Standard is now?
    Goblin Bushwhacker.

    What deck do you think is now the best in Standard?
    WR beats.

    If you could have any Zendikar card, what would it be?
    Sorin Markov.

    Do you play EDH? If so, what is your general?
    Nope, sorry.

    Do you have a Twitter that people can follow?
    Nope.




    Name: Gaudenis Vidugiris
    Age: 25
    Hometown: Madison, WI
    Occupation: Lawyer, starting in January.

    Which Zendikar draft archetypes have you had the most/least success with?
    Either black aggro or “just take the good cards.”

    What card was played against you that made you say “Wow, you’re really playing that?”
    Nothing.

    What did you eat today?
    Awesome hotel breakfast with waffles and eggs and a bagel and a cinnamon roll.

    What was your favorite Halloween costume growing up?
    Batman.

    What do you think the best card in Standard is now?
    Lightning Bolt.

    What deck do you think is now the best in Standard?
    R/W Landfall.

    If you could have any Zendikar card, what would it be?
    Sorin Markov.

    Do you play EDH? If so, what is your general?
    Yes, Numot the Devastator.

    Do you have a Twitter that people can follow?
    gaudenis, but I rarely post.




    Name: Alex Majlaton
    Age: 24
    Hometown: Lanham, MD
    Occupation: HUD (Actuary)

    Which Zendikar draft archetypes have you had the most/least success with?
    Most: green decks.
    Least: green decks.

    What card was played against you that made you say “Wow, you’re really playing that?”
    Kor Duelist.

    What did you eat today?
    Chocolate milk.

    What was your favorite Halloween costume growing up?
    The Monopoly guy.

    What do you think the best card in Standard is now?
    Got nothin.

    What deck do you think is now the best in Standard?
    Got nothin.

    If you could have any Zendikar card, what would it be?
    Vampire Nighthawk.

    Do you play EDH? If so, what is your general?
    My homeboy has this insane deck with Momir Vig that takes infinite turns.

    Do you have a Twitter that people can follow?
    twitter.com/alexmajlaton

     

  • Top 8 - Decklists
    by Event Coverage Staff







  •  

  • Quarterfinals - Gabriel Nassif vs. Conley Woods
    by Steve Sadin
  • Gabe and Conley, who have been atop the standings the entire weekend, got paired against one another three times during the Swiss rounds. Conley won their first encounter on day one, Gabe took their second during the first draft and Gabe graciously conceded to Conley during round 14 when Gabe, then at 12-1, thought that he was a virtual lock for the top 8.

    This gracious move almost had a disastrous end for Gabe when he got paired down against Jan Ruess in the final round and was forced to play out the match.

    Fortunately for Gabe, his good karma and good play were enough to take him past Jan and send him into the top 8 in first place where he gets to face the red hot Conley Woods for the fourth time on the weekend.

    Game 1
    Gabe won the flip and got off to a fast start with an Adventuring Gear that found itself equipped to a Kor Outfitter. Conley Disfigured the Kor Outfitter with the +2+2 trigger on the stack and Gabe replaced it with a Cliff Threader, which he immediately equipped. Conley didn’t have a play, took a hit down to 16 and watched as Gabe added a Bladetusk Boar to his board. Conley played a Nissa’s Chosen but took a hit down to 9 on Gabe’s next turn.

    A Marsh Casualties wiped Gabe’s board, and Gabe, who had appeared to be so far ahead just moments before, could only sit and watch as his deck gave him land after land, but nothing that could affect the board.

    Conley had a Mold Shambler and an Oran-Rief Survivalist to hammer away at the creatureless Gabe. When Gabe finally drew a blocker, Conley was ready with a Hideous End to send them to Game 2.

    Conley 1 – Gabe 0

    Game 2

    Gabe opened with a Kor Aeronaut and a Cliff Threader while Conley started with an Oran-Rief Survivalist and a Giant Scorpion. The Cliff Threader got enchanted with Nimbus Wings and Gabe was able to fly over the Giant Scorpion to nock Conley to 13.

    A Tajuru Archer shot the Kor Aeronaut right out of the sky and grew the Survivalist to 3/3.

    A Mind Sludge left Gabe with no cards in hand and a Marsh Casualties killed a Bladetusk Boar to leave Gabe with only his 3/3 flying Cliff Threader.

    A couple of turns later and Conley, who was on a somewhat fragile 7 life, was able to attack Gabe down to 6 with five power ready for the next turn.

    Gabe gently massaged the top card of his deck before he drew it and said, “I have a good one in mind.”

    “I have 2 good ones in hand,” replied the ever-confident Conley.

    Gabe drew a Tuk-Tuk Grunts and thought for a bit before attacking with both of his creatures to knock Conley down to 1.

    A Nimana Sell-Sword triggered Oran-Rief Survivalist giving Conley exactly lethal damage and sending him on to the semi-finals.

    Final Result: Conley 2 – Gabe 0

     

  • Quarterfinals - Martin Juza vs. Gaudenis Vidugiris
    by Marc Calderaro
  • These two pros have both had a tremendous weekend so far. Both Martin Juza and Gaudenis Vidugiris clearly have a good leg up in the new Zendikar limited. Both are high-level mages, and with their performances as of late, that status surely won’t change for the worse in the coming 2010 season. Juza drafted a strong Black-white deck against Vidugiris’s Black-Blue. And though color-intensive, Juza’s deck of infinite bears could easily walk over his opponent if he’s given the opportunity.

    Game 1

    Vidugiris won the important die roll and went first. But it was Juza who cast the first stone (well, spell, really) with a Vampire Lacerator, adding a second soon after. Vidugiris answered with a Welkin Tern and a Reckless Scholar, but by the time he untapped for his fourth turn, the scores 15-14 against him. After requisite taps and attacks from Vidugiris, a Bloodseeker and a Piranha Marsh came down before the turn went back to the Czech pro. Fighting fire with fire, A Kor Aeronauts from Juza watched as its new teammates (double Lacerator and Stonework Puma) made the scores 9-8 in the Juza’s favor.

    Vidugiris tried to stabilize the board with a Sea Gate Loremaster. But that tapped him out. And looking at all those sideways lands, Martin knew it was his chance. He cast Windborne Charge on his Carnophage-y Vampires and his eight power of flying bloodsuckers swung for the win.

    Martin Juza 1, Gaudenis Vidugiris 0

    Though Martin faked some sideboard changes, it was only Gaudenis who swapped cards from his deck. Sea Gate Loremaster and Bloodseeker came out for two Bog Tatters. And because speed was the key, three Into-the-Battlefield-Tapped lands swapped for their basic-land counterparts.

    Game 2

    Both players kept, and again it was Vidugiris’s lead. The early turns saw only enchantments from him – a Bloodchief Ascension and a Quest for the Gravelord. As Martin was sitting pretty with a Cliff Threader and a Stonework Puma. Sitting pretty, that is, until Gaudenis cast a third-turn Gatekeeper of Malakir. “Awwww. What?!” could be heard from Juza’s side of the table, as his Threader met its maker. Juza returned fire over a few turns with Kor Cartographer, then Kor Aeronauts and Bloodghast. Gaudenis’ fifth turn brought a Guul Draz Specter, but it promptly died to a Disfigure. Juza then swung in with everyone, taking Vidugiris to 10, and trading the Puma for the Gatekeeper.

    If you’ve been counting creature deaths, you know it’s Gravelord time. And along with a new Malakir Bloodwitch from Gaudenis, the board was tilting back towards center. Perhaps even tipping the opposite way – especially with Gaudenis’ next-turn Bog Tatters.

    Juza had only two Plains and a Vampire Lacerator in his hand, so there was little he could do but take a hit from the Tatters and watch the Ascension inch closer to enlightenment. Vidugiris wasn’t about to rest on his laurels, tapping out for a Reckless Scholar and another Guul Draz compatriot – the Vampire.

    “Too late,” Juza balked, casting a Vampire Nighthawk. His other flyer (the Aeronaut), soon met a Hideous End, and as Gaudenis lined up his creatures in attack formation, Juza could only exclaim, “You play good cards!” while scooping his own deck into his hands.

    Martin Juza 1, Gaudenis Vidugiris 1

    Juza flashed his Iona, Shield of Emeria. “Just letting you know, it’s probably coming in.” Of course, the real sideboard was a Pillarfield Ox in for the artifact Puma. And this time it would be Juza who got the important first land-drop.

    Game 3

    Speaking of land, that’s just about all Juza saw in his opening seven (six land and a Kor Cartographer is close enough), but his six was good enough to keep. On the other side of the table, Vidugiris kept a questionable, but undeniably powerful, two-lander – complete with Gatekeeper, Lacerator, Specter, and Bloodwitch.

    “This is a little awkward,” Vidugiris chimed, as he took a pain from Lacerator and chose not to attack into a Cliff Threader. The turn shipped back, and Juza attacked. But as soon as he ended his turn he exclaimed, “Please tell me you don’t have it!”

    Gaudenis did have it. Like clockwork, the Gatekeeper of Malakir came down on turn three. Both Juza’s Cliff Threader and Vampire Lacerator went down – one to the Gatekeeper’s kicker, and the other to his combat-step muscle – and the original knife-wielder was the only creature left standing.

    “Four cards?” Juza asked. In case you’re not sure, that’s the pros polite way of saying, “Please discard your hand to Mind Sludge now.” And though a Kabira Crossroads gained Juza a turn, Kor Aeronauts was all he could muster against a 3/3 AEther Figment and two Guul Draz Vampires that came down over the next two turns. After drawing for his turn, the scores at 7-11, Juza saw the writing on the wall. Though he took the first game quickly, sometimes it’s easy-come, easy-go.

    Juza, as confidently as always, shook Vidugiris’s hand and said, “I don’t know why I always lose; I never win.” Gaudenis just smiled. What level are you again, Martin?

    Martin Juza 1, Gaudenis Vidugiris 2

    Gaudenis Vidugiris continues his hot streak and advances to the semi-finals!

     

  • Quarterfinals - Alex Majlaton vs. John Skinner
    by Duncan McGregor
  • While this match did not have as much star power as some of the other quarterfinals, it was just as important to the outcome of the tournament, and people that you don’t know can easily become next year’s household names. Alex Majlaton has one previous Grand Prix Top 8, from 2005, and a string of PT appearances, but lasting success has so far eluded him. John Skinner, on the other hand, is almost as new to the game as can be - incredibly, he started playing in March, and with less than nine months of experience is now making his first appearance in the lights of the elimination round.

    Game 1

    Alex won the die roll, but it was John who had an impressive start, playing Trusty Machete and then bouncing it to get a Kor Skyfisher into play. Alex stumbled on mana for a turn, having only a late-to-the-party Oran-Rief Survivalist on his third turn, but found a third land to drop a Torch Slinger on his fourth. By that time the Skyfisher had picked up the Machete, though, and was taking four-point chunks out of Alex’s life. Kraken Hatchling tried to hold the ground, but Alex upgraded to Timbermaw Larva.

    John looked unconcerned, attacking again and casting Shepherd of the Lost. Another Forest was good for Alex, letting Timbermaw Larva hit for six, but meant that he couldn’t kick his second Slinger either. John attacked him down to one and passed the turn. Alex tried for an alpha strike, but when John showed him an Arrow Volley Trap he scooped instead of wasting any more time.

    Game 2

    Alex started with Nissa’s Chosen, while John met his quota for 2/3s with the Skyfisher, bouncing a Sejiri Refuge. Alex buffed his Elf with Savage Silhouette and smashed in for four. John swung back and telegraphed action by playing a Plains instead of the Refuge. Sure enough, the Chosen went Into the Roil when it tried to swing again. Alex dropped Mold Shambler and passed the turn back.

    John now replayed the Refuge, and destroyed the Shambler with a Pitfall Trap when it tried to attack. Alex replayed the Chosen, but a Goblin Ruinblaster the next turn was met with Summoner’s Bane, and Alex held his Chosen back to block. John swung again in the air, knocking Alex to 12, and deployed a Windrider Eel, but the Eel was burned with Punishing Fire before it could attack. Alex tossed out an Oran-Rief Survivalist as well before passing.

    The Skyfisher hit again, and a fifth land for John enabled Seascape Aerialist. Alex kicked up Burst Lightning to finally burn out the flyer, but Makindi Shieldmate sent the blue Ally to the air to continue the beats. Alex bashed back with both of his creatures, and John blocked both. The Illusion traded for the Survivalist, and Torch Slinger finished off the Shieldmate after combat. John swung back and enchanted the Chosen with Paralyzing Grasp, effectively making it a non-factor. This let the 2/3 Aerialist beat past the 2/2 Slinger for a couple turns, but while at 4 life Alex found another Torch Slinger to threaten the double-block.

    John attacked anyway, but after the block read his trick - Whiplash Trap - more carefully and realized that it wasn’t going to work properly. Whiplash Trap requires exactly two targets, so he couldn’t bounce one of the Slingers without also bouncing something else. If he bounced his Ally, he wouldn’t kill anything; if he bounced the Nissa’s Chosen, he’d be giving his opponent back a 2/3 in exchange for a 2/2. He finally decided to hold the Trap for later, and his Aerialist sadly traded for a Slinger. This cleared the way for the second Slinger to begin attacking, and after a couple hits Alex summoned a Turntimber Basilisk as well. John dug up a very good creature, though - Shepherd of the Lost. Flying meant that he could swing without being blocked, and first strike preserved it from being forced to trade with the Basilisk. Alex didn’t have an answer in hand, and didn’t have enough time to find one.

    John Skinner defeats Alex Majlaton 2-0.

     

  • Quarterfinals - Tom Ross vs. John May
    by Marc Calderaro
  • Tom Ross’s deck well-matched his deep red shirt, and it came out of the gates screaming Game 1 against John May’s Green-Blue deck. May put it best; “I never had a chance.” Goblin Shortcutters, Bladetusk Boars, Spire Barrages, Teetering Peaks (yes, all multiples) can be an unforgiving group for sure.

    However, Game 2 saw Ross stumble ever so slightly. But May’s powerful accelerators and big honkin’ dudes were poised to take advantage of such slight inconsistencies. After a timely Cancel nabbed a Burst Lightning, the flying blue squad swooped in for the kill.

    With the games evenly split, I joined the two Americans in heated combat. Ross had decided to add blue to his deck for the reach needed to trump life-gainers and big, green stop signs. Ross started a solid offensive with a Bladetusk Boar and a turn-five Living Tsunami complete with Teetering Peaks in play. May was bleeding, but he was able to stem it greatly by a Grazing Gladehart and consistent land drops. But, then, in one turn, John May flurried spells at a blistering rate, noshing mana like it were candy and completely flipped the board around. Given the previous statement, is there any doubt that his turn started by untapping with a Lotus Cobra in play?

    So with the 2/1 snake and the Gladehart, May cast an Ior Ruin Expedition, played his land for the turn (netting a mana), cast Harrow (netting three more mana), used the landfall triggers to draw two cards with the Expedition, and topped it off with a kicked Mold Shambler, destroying Living Tsunami’s biggest asset – the Teetering Peaks. And oh yeah, he also gained six life, and had two more land waiting patiently in his hand.

    After a few turns with a Spire Barrage stuck his hand, Tom Ross realized he had essentially locked himself out of the game with the Tsunami. And it wasn’t eating May’s life total like it needed to be. Soon after that, the 4/4 Flyer died on an upkeep, and through a Ruinous Minotaur replaced it, at five life, Ross had to trade with a 2/2 during the next attack. A draw step later, Ross’s Sunday came to an end, and John May advanced to the semi-finals.

    Tom Ross 1, John May 2

     

  • Semifinals - Gaudenis Vidugiris vs. John Skinner
    by Brian David-Marshall
  • Gaudenis is having a quietly solid breakout season on the Pro Tour. This is his third GP Top 8 of the season and the fourth of his career. Fueled largely by his three finishes this season, Gaudenis could lock up Level 7 Player’s Club status with a win this weekend. He could be a virtual Level 7 with a loss in the finals -- picking up a guaranteed two points by attending Worlds.

    John Skinner, on the other hand, was playing in his first GP and just qualified for his first Pro Tour. He had never even made the Top 8 of a PTQ prior to this event. In fact, he only started playing Magic in March of this year. He had played a little in High School but never seriously and never went so far as to buy cards. It was not until he started hanging out with a girl who played Magic that he reached out to a Magic savvy friend and asked for some pointers on how to play the game. He bought some cards and organized a couple of Sealed Deck games in his social circle. He found he liked the complexity the game had to offer and began playing in Sealed Deck tournaments in his local shop. Now here he was -- half a year later -- playing for a seat in the finals of Grand Prix Tampa and qualified for next season’s Pro Tour San Diego.

    Game 1

    John mulliganed twice to start things off and kept a five card hand that he turned into a turn three Makindi Shieldmate. Gaudenis had made a Welkin Tern after leading off with Soul Stair Expedition. Skinner stalled out on three lands while Gaudenis played Quest for the Gravelord and Vampire Lacerator. The Shieldmate met a Hideous End and Gau took a six point bite out of Skinner’s life total. Kor Sanctifiers took out the Quest for the Gravelord and held the Lacerator at bay. Now it was Gau who was stuck on three lands and John tapped out to bounce Welkin Tern and Reckless Scholar with Whiplash Trap. Or at least that’s what he thought he was showing Gau.

    Blood Seeker
    “Um....that’s an Arrow Volley Trap.”

    “Its been a long day,” groaned Skinner as he returned the white card to his hand and played the correct one.

    Gaudenis replayed the Tern but instead of playing the Scholar a turn later he played Guul Draz Specter, which stripped a card from John’s hand a turn later. He did not want to use the revealed trap on just one creature. He played Paralyzing Grasp on the specter. Gaudenis dropped a small army of guys on the table -- Blood Seeker, Scholar, and finally Malakir Gatekeeper to take out the Sanctifiers. John never used the Arrow Volley trap and eventually died to the Malakir Bloodwitch from Gaudenis.

    The players were eerily quiet as they sideboarded and shuffled for Game 2.

    Finally Gaudenis cracked the silence with an incredulous, “I can’t believe I am doing this!” as he sided out a Vampire Lacerator and brought in a Spreading Seas -- a card many of the Pros here this weekend have used as both cycling and mana disruption.

    Game 2

    Gaudenis missed his turn one Guul Draz Vampire to play a tapped Piranha Marsh -- a card one Top 8 competitor derided in his profile. Kor Skyfisher from John bounced a land and he replayed it. Gaudenis played the Spreading Seas on John’s one Plains and passed the with no play save Soul Stair Expedition. Gaudenis cracked back for one with the Vampire after the Skyfisher attacked on John’s turn and then he played Bloodchief Ascension. The Spreading Seas meant John would need two more white sources if he wanted to Sanctify the Ascension. John did not attack with his Skyfisher and Gaudenis had to play his Crypt Ripper and just pass the turn.

    Guul Draz Vampire
    Gau attacked a turn later and the Skyfisher jumped in the way and made a Narrow Escape. Hagra Crocodile came down for Gaudenis. Skyfisher returned the enchanted Plains and when it came back down it paid for Makindi Shieldmate. Soaring Seacliff gave the Crocodile flying and John chose not to block it or the Crypt Ripper. Guul Draz Vampire joined the Lietuva squad.

    Paralyzing Grasp locked down the Crypt Ripper. John played an unkicked Into the Roil to keep the Crocodile busy and Gau had no attack. A second Makindi Shieldmate bogged down the ground and the flier could not navigate past the flier. Gaudenis played the Gatekeeper of Malakir and John sacrificed the smaller of the defenders. When Gau attacked with only the Crocodile it fell into a Pitfall Trap. The Bloodchief Ascension had only the one counter on it when John played a kicked Sanctifiers to dispatch it. Gau played Crypt Rippers and passed with no attack. Finally John found some potential route to victory with a kicked Aether Figment. Gaudenis played a way to slow down that clock with Vampire Hexmage, which could remove the counters from the unblockable creature.

    He took three from the Figment -- going to 15 -- and John added Windrider Eel to the team. Crypt Ripper swung in and ate the Shieldmate. With John more or less tapped out, Gaudenis popped his Hexmage to shrink the Figment and cracked his Expedition to return it and the Crocodile to his hand. He replayed the reptile.

    Kraken Hatchling came down to man the borders for John and he attacked for an unblockable one. Gaudenis played a land and rambled across with his Hagra Crocodile and Crypt Ripper. John put his Sanctifiers and Skyfisher in the way of the 5/3 and put Kraken Hatchling in the path of the Crypt Ripper. Malakir Bloodwitch looked around and saw three other vampires when it hit play. When Gaudenis attacked with his Specter, Crypt Ripper, and Bloodwitch John surprised him with a kicked Bold Defense. The Windrider Eel ate the Bloodwitch and two guys teamed to take out the Crypt Ripper but John was being attritioned out. The Guul Draz Specter took Summoner’s Bane from John’s hand and the game was essentially over but for a couple of chump blocks.

    Final result: Gaudenis Vidugiris won 2-0 over John Skinner to advance to the finals.

     

  • Semifinals - Conley Woods vs. John May
    by Marc Calderaro
  • As these two jovial players, Conley Woods and John May, readied for the first game, Woods kept trying to feed me one-liners to sweeten up my coverage. Like my coverage isn’t sweet enough already. Nice try, Woods! While shuffling, he must have thrown at least ten jokes my way, like a stand-up comedian working the audience over – frequently stopping to ask about what comments I was going to include. Finally, after mocking bad sleeves (complete with an astute scatological analogy), and arguing over the best black card in the set (Mays says Ob Nixilis, Woods says Sorin), they got down to business and presented their very well-shuffled decks.

    Game 1

    Marsh Casualties
    Oran-Rief Survivalist and Greenweaver Druid were the first plays for Woods, with May fighting back in the form of an Umara Raptor. An attack step brought May to 16, and the Druid helped to cast a kicked Mold Shambler, destroying May’s only Island. The demeanor of the match quickly shifted, as May tried to keep his Island through some questionable judge methods. After the minor flurry, two lonely forests remained.

    Though shaken, those lands didn’t stay lonely for long, as an Island came back next turn, along with a Nissa’s Chosen. But that didn’t stop Conley from making the scores 13-18 before dropping a Turntimber Basilisk. May played Lotus Cobra hoping to mirror Wood’s Greenweaver acceleration, but a kicked Marsh Casualties swiftly ended those dreams, and swept May’s board clean. The next attack step was enough.

    Conley Woods 1, John May 0

    The chatted completely dropped off after Game 1, as the players sat in silence, contemplating and adjusting their 40-card piles. Woods switched out a Mold Shambler and a Territorial Baloth for two Zendikar Farguides, as May contemplated Grim Discovery, but eventually decided against it.

    Game 2

    Woods thought three Swamp, two Forest, Turntimber Basilisk, and Terra Stomper was good enough, and John May kicked off Game 2 with an Umara Raptor. However, it was not long for this world and was immediately [Disfigure] disfigured. The same thing happened a few turns later, just replace “Umara Raptor” with “Territorial Baloth”, and “Disfigure” with “Hideous End”.
    Woods’ original two creatures soon came down, squaring off against Rampaging Baloths, but the mythic rare was forced to play chump because the Basilisk said so, and like that, May was out of gas. Conley Woods took it in two.

    Conley Woods 2, John May 0

    After the match, an elated Conley stoically posited, “There’s my ticket to Rome.” With that win, he clinched his level up, and it safe to assume we’ll be seeing a lot more of Conley Woods. And you know what that means – A lot more Scatology 101 lectures for me. Congrats to Conley Woods!

     

  • Finals - Conley Woods vs. Gaudenis Vidugiris
    by Brian David-Marshall
  • Both players had crossed points thresholds with their finishes this weekend. Conley Woods was guaranteed of a Level 6 Player’s Club status for 2010 -- and hoping for more at Worlds. Gaudenis was assured of Level 7 with an appearance at Worlds and could get there today with a win over Conley. The two players chatted while they reviewed each other’s decklists.

    “I was told you had the nuts Vampire deck!” exclaimed the bombastic Woods. “Where are your Nighthawks?”

    “You were misinformed,” laughed Gaudenis who was taken aback by Conley’s list. “You have two Marsh Casualties?

    “I got one of them third pick,” bragged Woods but it was false bravado as he continued to read the decklist. “This is easily the toughest matchup I have faced in the Top 8.”

    Game 1

    I will however keep

    Gaudenis Vidugiris
    Gaudenis opened the action with Guul Draz Vampire and Welkin Tern while Conley summoned a turn three Giant Scorpion. Gaudenis flew over for two and he had a look of distaste for Gaudenis as he played Soul Stair Expedition and Piranha Marsh and could not make a three drop.

    “You have Marshed me. It is the first time I have been Marshed this weekend,” laughed Conley as he played Bala Ged Thief. “Ravenous Rats you.”

    Gaudenis discarded Scholar and Conley said: “You had better beat me this turn.”

    Gatekeeper of Malakir took out the Giant Scorpion and the Tern attacked for Gaudenis. When the Gatekeeper attacked a turn later it was blocked by the Thief and Vines of Vastwood saved the ally.

    Merfolk Seastalkers came down for Gaudenis which more or less trumped Conley’s Terra Stomper a turn later. Gau popped the expedition and returned Scholar and Gatekeeper -- he played the latter. Conley sacced the ally. Gaudenis laid a land and tapped the Stomper to attack for five.

    “I have a lot of good ones I could rip right here,” said Conley.

    “I believe you. I saw your list.”

    “That may or not be one of them,” said Conley but it sounded like he was leaning toward the latter. Mold Shambler took out one of the two Islands on Gau’s side of the board.

    Island?” asked Conley as Gaudenis drew for his turn.

    Nope. Just a Hideous End.

    Game 2

    Conley Woods
    “Turns out that not drawing removal is the way to lose,” said Conley who was regretting keeping a removal free hand. “Do you want to concede this game and just go straight to Game 3? It is what the fans want. They love Game 3s.”

    “I can’t feasibly mulligan this hand,” said Conley, who makes his own narrative.

    “Is that a keep?” asked Gaudenis.

    “I thought they were interchangeable.”

    “I thought so but I just wanted to make sure.”

    Gau had the same opening as Game 1 -- right down to the turn three Piranha Marsh -- but this time Conley had the Disfigure for the flier.

    “Marshed again!” said Conley who was relieved to have some time to get his side of the board settled. “That was the best Disfigure of all time.”

    Nimana Sell-Sword joined the Woods team while Gaudenis had Merfolk Seastalkers.

    Conley cracked in for three and played Territorial Baloth but he found himself staring down a Malakir Bloodwitch.

    Conley played a land and swung with both his guys. Gau thought for a long time and finally put his Bloodwitch in the way of the Sell-Sword.

    “Call? You call?!?” exclaimed the pumpless Conley. “No one calls! The sickest.”

    He summoned Baloth Woodcrashers and resumed grousing. Gaudenis attacked for four with the flier and played Paralyzing Grasp on the Territorial Baloth. He tapped the fattie on Conley’s turn which ended with a Turntimber Basilisk. Gaudenis attacked and dropped Conley to 10. “Ten more marshes and you got me.” Vampire Hexmage for Gaudenis.

    Gaudenis chump blocked the Woodcrashers and discarded a Crocodile to Conley’s Bala Ged Thief. Nissa's Chosen was played and tapped at end of turn. Gaudenis attacked with the flier and the score was 6 to 8 in favor of Gau who cracked Soul Stair for Hexmage and Welkin Tern. In a bizarre twist of Zendikar, Conley was rooting for his deck to deliver a seventh land. He found it and targeted the Merfolk Seastalkers with the Turntimber Basilisk. Gaudenis tapped the Woodcrashers and attacked with everyone. Hexmage ate the Thief -- although it could have stepped in the way to save the Seastalkers from the deathtouch of the Basilisk. Instead the merfolk and Basilisk traded. Heartstabber Mosquito post combat took out the Bloodwitch. Gaudenis slumped in his seat.

    He played Crypt Ripper and attacked with it, which forced Conley to chump with his Mosquito. The Welkin Tern made a reappearance.

    Conley cracked back and Gaudenis chumped the Baloth with Hexmage. He had more slumping in him when Conley played Tajuru Archers to kill the Tern.

    “Removal?” asked Conley. Anything that could clear his lone chumper would seal the game for Gaudenis. “If you are slow rolling me....”

    Conley got his chance to chump and Gaudenis played Sea Gate Loremaster which chumped the Baloth on the next turn. Conley had ripped Giant Scorpion. “Well that clears the Hideous End...”

    But it did not account for the topdecked Soaring Seacliffs that sent a cheer through the Gaudenis partisans as the Crypt Ripper flew over for more than lethal damage. Fittingly this Zendikar Limited Grand Prix was decided by a top decked land.

    Congratulations to Grand Prix Tampa Champion Gaudenis Vidugiris!

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